Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

March 3, 1998
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560 Kilometers Above Europa
Credit: Galileo Project, JPL, NASA

Explanation: This is the closest photograph ever taken of Europa. Last December, NASA's spacecraft Galileo swept past the Jovian moon and took photographs which were released yesterday. Speculation that life-bearing oceans exist beneath Europa's surface caused NASA to put Galileo on orbits that approach Europa. The above photograph shows new details on Europa's surface, indicating that much of Europa as strewn with bumps and hills of ice laced with long fractures. Dark circular features may be impact craters.

Tomorrow's picture: Aurora Over Alaska

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.